Ryan Tannehill is going to be the starting QB in Miami, yet he’s not the highest paid QB on the roster this year; it’s Matt Moore. Tannehill is still on his rookie contract, and Moore is going into this season with a $5.5 million cap hit. And he’s a backup. Last year he played just a small portion of one game and managed to throw two picks and fumble. That’s atrocious. He’s only had one season in his career as a starting QB and he was average at best. Last year he threw for 53 yards…total. What part of this performance suggests him being work that much money? This is one of the most baffling contracts for QBs and the highest among backups going into this season. Verdict: he doesn’t deserve his contract.
Another backup getting overpaid is Michael Vick, this time on the Jets. Anyone who tries to say that Vick is still good enough to start and win is clueless. He was awful whenever he played for the Eagles last year and won’t be any better in an offense that is essentially devoid of offensive weapons. Plus, Geno Smith figures to be the starter this year and probably will stay that way all season unless he gets hurt. Vick is just insurance as a backup, that’s it. So why is he getting $4 million this year? Beats me. It may not be that much money in the grand scheme of things, but for what he’s going to do, it’s too much. Verdict: he doesn’t deserve his contract.
I debated putting guys like Chad Henne and Matt Cassel in this list, but they’ve both been recently named the starters and are getting about what a sub-par starter should get, which is what they are. They’re both getting $5.75 million this year and have combined for just one playoff game (a loss of course). Clearly this would be way too much money if they were strictly backups, but I expect both to start a fair amount of games this year despite rookies knocking on their doorstep. Next year both of these guys could be out, but for now, I’ll let their contracts slide. Verdict: as long as they’re starters, they deserve their contracts.
There’s one person in this group of 32 QBs who I really don’t know how to classify. Philip Rivers has pretty much anything one could ask for: the stats, the demeanor, and the playoff experience. But the one thing he doesn’t have is a Super Bowl ring, which is what sets him apart from the other elite QBs. His cap hit this year is $16.7 million which is pretty high in terms of the other guys, but I think he’s definitely a top 10 QB and maybe even the fifth guy on the list. He threw 32 TDs and just 11 INTs which is a nice ratio. It seems like a lot of money for a guy that’s never won a ring, but I think he will continue to maintain this greatness. Verdict: he does deserve his contract
Now, while this wraps up the list of QBs that don’t deserve their contracts, there are plenty of QBs that clearly deserve their contracts regardless of the size of it. Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers—the “big four” as I call them—deserve any amount of money they want because of how much they’ve accomplished and still are accomplishing. It’s surprising to see that none of them is making $20+ million in either cash or cap hit because if anyone, these are the guys that should be getting the big bucks, not Cutler and Eli. As long as these guys continue to dominate the QB position across the league, they can make whatever amount of money and I’d say they deserve it. They’re that good.
That isn’t to say that they’re the only guys that deserve the amount of money they’re getting. There are many QBs that are receiving just around the amount that they deserve. The guys I’d include on that list are Andy Dalton ($9.06 million), E.J. Manuel ($2.02 million), Josh McCown ($4.75 million), Andrew Luck ($6.03 million), Tony Romo ($11.8 million), Cam Newton ($7.01 million), Robert Griffin III ($5.76 million), Ryan Fitzpatrick ($3.38 million) and Jake Locker ($4.00 million). While a couple of these guys might be getting a raise soon, I believe that they deserve their contracts just at where they are. I think Luck and Newton could certainly deserve a raise in the near future if they continue to get better. Dalton is also on the first year of his brand new contract, which he’ll have to live up to if he wants to earn it all since only 17.7% of it is actually guaranteed.